OpenWFEpy and Dynamic Languages Toolkit

Scott StultsMay 3, 2007

As I noted in an earlier post, I just started a project called OpenWFEpy. It’s a Python port of the OpenWFE workflow engine, and if you’d like to be on the mailing list just let me know.

In between bouts of manually converting the files, I’ve been searching for some automation I can use to help me. One possibility I explored was creating a Ruby parser using Antlr. For whatever reason that didn’t prove as fruitful as I’d hoped, but Andrew left me an interesting comment regarding an Eclipse plugin project called Dynamic Languages Toolkit (DLTK).

As the name implies, DLTK is designed to be a common framework from which to build dynamic language IDE’s. If you’ve tried to use Eclipse for anything other than Java programming, you’ve probably witnessed widely varying feature sets between language plugins. It’s API bridges the gap between the Eclipse framework and a language parser, so once you have a parser built and plugged into the API, all the cool features of a great IDE are immediately available to you.

Included in the toolkit is a Ruby IDE that they built on their API. They didn’t include the grammar, but as long as the parser isn’t coupled too tightly I could either use it stand-alone or add some sort of “Convert to Python” refactoring. This path seems a little more promising than building from scratch the parser I’ll need, but as with the earlier spike, if I spend too much time getting to know the tools I’ll have less time to do the actual work.

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